ANDOVER - James Richard Graham (Jim), passed away peacefully at his home in Andover, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, under the loving care of his wife Patricia Ann (Prater), sister, Nancy Graham, other members of his family, and CRVNA Hospice.
Jim was born on Nov. 1, 1948, in Haverhill, Mass., the son of Richard G. Graham and the late Shirley I. Adams Smith. Although he spent many years living in various areas of the United States where his father, a career Naval Officer, was stationed on active duty, he attended Haverhill High School and always considered Haverhill as his home town.
Jim enlisted in the Navy in 1966. He was trained as an Aviation Crash and Rescue Firefighter at NAS Lakehurst, N.J., and assigned to the Aircraft Carrier USS Essex (CVS9) home ported at NAS Quonset Point, R.I. and operating in the Atlantic Fleet. He was Honorably Discharged from the Navy in 1968 and was authorized to wear the National Defense Service Medal.
Jim worked in Massachusetts until he relocated to New Hampshire in the late 1970s to be closer to family members who had moved there. For many years he worked in the automobile industry as an auto mechanic and Claims Adjuster, for Ford Motor dealerships in and around Concord. After purchasing property in Andover, he continued to work in the auto industry until he becoming a Counselor in the Multiple Offender Program then located in Laconia. He completed his professional career as a Mental Health worker at the NH Hospital in Concord, and retired from the State of NH in 2010.
Jim was an avid conservationist and bird lover. Driving certain highways near Andover, one can see many bird nesting houses and resting platforms located in remote, swampy areas of Andover that he had installed and carefully maintained for his feathered friends. Numerous bird houses in the woodlands surrounding his home also providing them a safe haven. A visit to Jim and Pat's home was a wonderful experience, even if just sitting on the deck watching the various type birds during their feeding time. The birds knew they were being well provided for, and every day was like Thanksgiving Day for them. Jim often brought out a descriptive book which pictured hundreds of birds, to make sure that everyone knew the specific type being watched; A very educational time and always enjoyable.
Jim loved being outside, during all seasons of the year. His two particular recreational passions were riding his snow mobile on the many winter trails in New Hampshire and jet skiing on the various lakes and other water ways in the summer. He was always ready to go.
Being ready to face a new challenge and having a strong desire to become a fully accredited Firefighter with the Andover Volunteer Fire Department, Jim applied for and was approved by the State of NH for training as a Firefighter, Class I. He successfully completed the Course and was issued a Certificate of Completion by the New Hampshire Fire Standards and Training Commission, dated Oct. 19, 2011. When the graduating class was introduced to the general public in attendance and Completion Certificates were awarded, Jim was introduced as the 'OLDEST PERSON TO EVER START, COMPLETE AND CERTIFY SUCCESSFULLY IN A FIREFIGHTER ONE CLASS AT AGE 62", certainly a proud moment for Jim and family.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Patricia; his son, Scott; and grandsons, Jack and Max; his father, Richard; stepmother Irene; sisters, Linda Haidinger (Bill), Nancy Lee Graham and Jeri Lee Smith; brothers, Michael (Nancy), John, Edward (Jeanne) and Stephen Graham; and numerous nephews and nieces.
A celebration of life will be held Monday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cremation Society of NH, 172 King St., Boscawen with a Memorial Service starting at 1 p.m.
Interment will follow at 2:30 p.m. at the NH State Veterans Cemetery at 110 D.W. Hwy in Boscawen.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made in Jim's Honor, to the Andover, NH Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 117, Andover, N.H. 03216, or to Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association at The Slusser Center, 30 Pillsbury St., Concord, N.H. 03301.
Jim, Until We Meet Again, Rest in Peace.
Published in The Concord Monitor on Dec. 1, 2013